Have you ever met a person that seems to eat "whatever they want" - going out to eat at fancy restaurants, enjoying decadent desserts, eating foods that you deem "unhealthy" on a regular basis - but who still manages to enjoy good health? Often times, it can seem mysterious that some people who truly seem to love and enjoy food can eat a diet that a health-conscious person might deem "unhealthy" without gaining weight or having negative health effects. These types of "foodies" have a particularly strong interest in food - they research recipes in their free time, save their money to try out the new restaurant in town, and read food magazines. They spend time going to farmer's markets and buy fresh, high-quality food. They are lovers of food and therefore have exceptionally good health. But why?
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For one, a person who loves food often has a high standard of food. Much as a connoisseur snubs a poor quality wine, a true foodie can hardly imagine eating food that wasn't fresh or didn't delight their palate. They would refuse to eat something that did not taste good to them. They pay close attention to their taste buds' preferences and savor each and every bite of their food. They eat in a slow, relaxed environment. They frequent fancy restaurants, where portions are smaller and more reasonable than more conventional diners and chain restaurants. The French embody the passionate approach to food and enjoy some of the lowest rates of heart disease in the world, despite the the diet rich in saturated fat from natural sources like butter and whole milk yogurt. All of this insinuates that loving food - and paying attention to it - means better food choices and ultimately, better health.
Clients often come to our clinic believing they are overweight because they are indulgent lovers of food. We've found, from our experiences, this is just not the case. Eating food quickly without paying attention, eating food for emotional comfort instead of for taste, and eating without truly enjoying the food are the most common causes of weight problems we see in our clinic. This is true even when people try to eat "healthy". A person who eats celery or salads solely because they are "healthy" is simply force-feeding their body nutrients they might not need. Eating slowly and truly enjoying your food seems to help people stayed tuned to the nutritional needs of their body, whether they are eating celery or chocolate cake.
So, how could a person start to incorporate passion into their food choices? Here are a few ideas:
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About the AuthorJohn Immel, the founder of Joyful Belly, teaches people how to have a healthy diet and lifestyle with Ayurveda. His approach to Ayurveda exudes a certain ease, which many find enjoyable and insightful. John also directs Joyful Belly's School of Ayurveda , which specializes in digestive tract pathology & Ayurvedic nutrition. John and his wife Natalie recently published Explore Your Hunger: A Guide to Hunger, Appetite & Food.
John's interest in Ayurveda and digestive tract pathology was inspired by a complex digestive disorder acquired from years of international travel, including his public service work in South Asia. John's commitment to the detailed study of digestive disorders reflects his zeal to get down to the roots of the problem. His hope and belief in the capacity of each & every client to improve their quality of life is nothing short of a personal passion. John's creativity in the kitchen and delight in cooking for others comes from his family oriented upbringing. In addition to his certification in Ayurveda, John holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from Harvard University.
John enjoys sharing Ayurveda within the context of his Catholic roots, and finds Ayurveda gives him an opportunity to participate in the healing mission of the Church. Jesus expressed God's love by feeding and healing the sick. That kindness is the fundamental ministry of Ayurveda as well.
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Thanks John. Any insights on the frequency of food intake. We are used to following corporate lunch times and not giving a thought into if we are truly hungry. How important is it to consider that need vs routine meals?
Totally on the mark! Not many health professionals take this into account, but it could be the missing link for so many who struggle with find the "right" diet for them.
You can train your body to get hungry on time by eating on a routine, which is good for your body. However if you are not hungry on a particular day, eat a lighter meal or drink herbal digestive teas.